Candied Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip


I am going to teach you how to make this delicious recipe for Candied Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip. It’s easy to make and a great party dip! It’s a party until someone puts out a spread of tangy, creamy and spicy jalapeno cream cheese dip. This culinary delight is hearty enough to function as a standalone snack. But it’s also decadent enough to be served with bread or crackers and still command the spotlight like a diva at the center of attention.


Sweet and Spicy Cowboy Candy (a.k.a Candied Jalapenos)

Sweet and Spicy Cowboy Candy recipe, a.k.a. Candied Jalapeños. Add a layer to cream cheese to make a quick and easy Christmas appetizer Recipes. Spicy jalapeño rings are marinated in a sweet simple syrup to create a flavorful and versatile condiment.

We LOVE our jalapeño recipes here at Foodie and Wine. One of our long time reader favorites is our Pickled Peppers Recipe and last week we posted the recipe to our beloved Cranberry Jalapeno Dip. Next up is a classic we’ve been making for over 20 years – Sweet and Spicy Cowboy Candy Jalapeños, better known as Candied Jalapeños.


Cowboy Candy is something special. Spicy jalapeno peppers are marinated in a sweet sugar glaze to create a powerhouse condiment. The jalapeños soften, yet retain their heat, which is balanced by the sugar-based glaze. This recipe is considered a small batch Cowboy Candy, but you can easily double or tripe to make large batch Cowboy Candy. Many of the ingredients you may already have on-hand if you’re into pickling recipes.

White plate topped with cream cheese and cowboy candy. Jar full of candied jalapenos and crackers next to it.


This candied fruit recipe can be utilized in many different ways. Here are a few of my favorites:

Candied Jalapeno Dip

Dump a jar out over cream cheese and serve with crackers and bread. You could also serve it with pickled peaches. The combo would be amazing.

 Grilled Meat

Marinate and/or top your favorite beef recipes and pork recipes with these bad boys. Think how amazing this sweet and spicy  glaze would be on chicken wing recipes.

Sandwiches and Hamburgers

Two words: Grilled Cheese.

Cocktail Garnish

These would be awesome on top of a Mango Michelada or Michelada.

Three crackers on a white plate topped with cream cheese and cowboy candy.

If you’ve ever looked up Cowboy Candy for sale, you’ll know it’s not cheap. One popular brand on Amazon charges $12 per jar! This fruit candy recipe pencils to less than 25% of that and includes the exact same ingredients. Of course those jars are ready to eat upon delivery whereas making it from home requires some patience.


A few tips to note before making this recipe:

Seeds in or seeds out? As with many jalapeno recipes, it’s up to you. It won’t affect the recipe other than the texture of the seeds.

Try and let your jars of cowboy candy develop for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator before enjoying, if possible. You can absolutely wait just a week, but a good month really brings out the texture and flavor.

There are three options for slicing up the jalapeños. All options are great – it really comes down to how you like to work in the kitchen. I pick “easy to clean” over “quick” any day of the week, but you may be the opposite.

1. If you’re a long time reader you know I detest whipping out my Mandoline slicer. Using it is great, but cleaning it in a safe way is a a hassle. But it works really well here.

2. Add the peppers, one at a time, through the feed chute of your food processor.

3. Whip out some gloves and cut them by hand with a sharp knife. I actually prefer this method. Sure it’s tedious but it’s less “stuff” to clean.

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip

Enjoy sweet, savory, and tart flavors all in one with this Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip. It’s made with all of your favorites – cream cheese, maple syrup, and cheddar!

cranberry jalapeno dip

You’ve never had jalapeño dip like this!

There are dips, and then there are truly great dips. And while I think all dips are credible in their own right, something about this easy cranberry jalapeño cream cheese dip just stands out among the rest.

Believe me here, this dip is unlike anything you’ve ever had. It’s savory, cheese, and spicy, but also fruity with that tart cranberry addition! It’s easy and quick to make, pairs with your favorite scoopers (like crackers or fruit), and is perfect for game day, sharing an app with friends, or entertaining!

making cranberry jalapeno dip

Ingredients in cranberry and jalapeño dip

Cranberry jalapeño dip is made in two parts. We’ll first make the cranberry mixture with cranberries, jalapeños, maple syrup, and more, and then we’ll dive into the cream cheese part.

Cranberry Mixture

  • Cranberries: The base of the cranberry mixture will require 12 oz of fresh or frozen cranberries.
  • Jalapeño: Add some heat with 1 jalapeño, diced small and deseeded. If you like hot food you can leave some of the seeds (more seeds = more heat).
  • Maple syrup: Next, add some naturally sweet flavor with 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
  • Orange: Use the juice and zest of 1 large orange.
  • Vanilla: Add some flavor with 1 tsp of vanilla.
  • Thyme: Finally, include 1 tbsp of fresh thyme

Cream Cheese Mixture

  • Cream cheese: Start the cream cheese mixture with 2 blocks of softened cream cheese. I recommend using a 1/3 less fat version for a healthier dip.
  • Cheddar: 1 3/4 cup of shredded cheese adds delicious flavor to this dip! Divide it for using in two parts in the recipe.
  • Seasonings: Next, add flavor with 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • For topping: Include green onions on top for a nice garnish!
  • For serving: For serving, pair with anything like crackers, crostini, apples, or cucumbers.
making cranberry jalapeno dip

Tools needed to make this dip recipe

To create this dip, you will need a sauce pan, stirring utensil, fork or potato masher, mixing bowl, and small casserole dish.

You’ll also need a few measuring cups: 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup, and 1 cup.

How to make this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese dip recipe

We’ll be making this dip on the stove and in the oven. The whole process should take about 30 minutes, including baking time!

To begin, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Add the cranberry sauce ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it boils.

Reduce the heat and allow the cranberries to burst. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Once burst, smash the cranberries with a fork or potato masher.

Heat the mix until it thickens into a sauce, and then turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

Stir together the softened cream cheese, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and salt.

Spread the mix into the bottom of a 6×10 or dip casserole dish. I recommend a small sized dish so the dip doesn’t spread too thin.

Pour the cranberry mixture on top, and then add 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar.

Bake the dip for 15 minutes or until it bubbles. Sprinkle the green onion on top.

Let cool for a few minutes, and serve!

making cranberry jalapeno dip

How this dip is healthier

When it came to assembling the ingredients, I made a few easy switches to achieve a healthier dip.

First, I skipped sugar and replaced it with maple syrup. This is a natural sweetener that does the job, has a lower glycemic index (meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as extremely as sugar), and tastes great!

My second swap was using 1/3 less fat cream cheese. This is an easy one because it only requires grabbing the lower fat version, not making an actual ingredient swap!

The perfect foods for pairing

When it comes to serving jalapeño dip, you have a lot of options. I already recommended crackers, crostini, apples, and cucumbers, but the list doesn’t stop there!

Enjoy this dip with tortilla chips, pretzels, club crackers, carrots, or pita chips!

Cranberry & Candied Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

Cranberry & Candied Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

Kick up your holiday app-game with this spicy twist on an old fav.
PREP TIME10 minutes
TOTAL TIME10 minutes


  • 12 oz. Container of Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 c. Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c. Candied Jalapeno Slices
  • 1 Box of your favorite crackers


1.) Using a spatula, spread whipped cream cheese onto a platter that will allow cream cheese to only be about 1/2 inch thick. Spread it evenly.

2.) In a bowl, measure out cranberry sauce and stir to loosen up. Set aside.

3.) Take 1/4 c. sliced candied jalapenos and using a cutting board, mince (small dice). Put diced candied jalapenos in bowl with cranberry sauce. Mix well.

4.) Spread cranberry mixture over the top of cream cheese.

5.) Top with a few candied jalapenos in the middle to show guests that the dip is a bit spicy!

6.) Serve with your favorite crackers.


  • Depending on your area, brands & availability of candied jalapenos or “cowboy candy” will vary. They are found in the pickled foods section near the regular pickled jalapenos, olives & pickles. You can also find these online via Amazon, Etsy & other retailers.
  • You can use regular cream cheese for this, but it’ll require softening the block of cream cheese up & beating it with a mixer until nice and fluffy. Save yourself some work & get the pre-whipped cream cheese.

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